I returned from a week-long holiday on Monday and have struggled to get my brain into gear. This is a new problem because until recently, I didn’t take proper vacations. This year though, I had a virtual gone to the beach sign up and totally forgot that I have to work for a living.
People call me driven and wonder how I have the energy to do so much – work as a PR and copywriter, blog, run a home, tend an allotment, write books, exercise, etc. ‘I don’t know how you do it,’ they say. I’m not really interested in the answer to that question. What I want to know is, ‘Why do I do it?’
I think my reluctance to take holidays stems from the fact that I am a closet lazy bones and realise that if I grind to a halt, I might never get revved up again. Downtime terrifies me because I love it so much.
I was a lazy child. I remember being told as much. I liked to loll about, reading books or staring out of the window, daydreaming. My happiest moments were idle ones.
At school, my favourite punishment was being told to stand and face the wall. I loved it! A whole chunk of time where nobody was going to tell me off for wallowing in my imagination. There wasn’t anywhere else I’d rather be.
My parents ran a busy pub and as soon we could walk, we were put to work. I was trained to be productive and to feel bad for being lazy. There’s nothing wrong with being productive, but at the same time, I have come to realise that laziness is not bad either. In fact, it is to be embraced!
Yesterday a woman told me that she did a job she hated for years and it made her ill. When she ditched it for work she loved, her ailments disappeared.
Being busy makes me ill. I have a patch of eczema on my torso that flairs up whenever I’m under the cosh, I get stress headaches and for some reason, my right foot gets very itchy whenever I’m doing too much. None of these things bothered me last week when I was on holiday by the sea.
Laziness is good for me. I can see that. Every time I go on a silent retreat (I have 5 days coming up next month) I return feeling refreshed, blissed-out, and highly creative. I’ve written a novel and a second is underway and I did that by disappearing into my imagination. All my best ideas come to me when I am doing nothing.
For decades I’ve pretended to be a person who loves to be busy but that’s not me. I’m a dreamer, a storyteller, and bone idle.